It is no secret that Americans are infamous for sleep deprivation with more than a quarter of the population saying they do not get sufficient sleep. What, however, bothers many people is whether their sleep deprivation or afternoon drowsiness is a result of usual fatigue or something more serious such as obstructive sleep apnea. The American Sleep Association reports that about 25 million American adults struggle with obstructive sleep apnea, with the disorder occurring more in men than in women. At Zenith Smiles we understand the risk sleep apnea can cause to our health, wellbeing, and safety, and even our occupation or work-related activities. That is why we offer solutions to your sleep apnea problem.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which the breathing activity in an individual is interrupted during sleep. If not treated, the repeated stopping and sudden starting of breathing often limits the brain as well as the other organs of the body from receiving adequate oxygen during sleep.
While there are different forms of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is more prevalent than the others. Others are central and complex sleep apnea.
What Happens in Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
In obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles supporting tissues within the throat and other parts like the tongue and soft palate, relax momentarily, leading to the narrowing and closing of the airway. As a result, breathing halts. People who have obstructive sleep apnea tend to snore. The snoring arises from the vibration of the uvula, the soft tissue flap hanging down within the back region of the mouth or the soft palate. The vibration occurs when the airways are obstructed during sleep.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
Many things can cause obstruction of the airway and snoring, including drinking before bed, allergies, having large tonsils, being overweight, and having a deviated septum. Therefore, chronic snoring could indicate sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder. Individuals with sleep apnea can stop breathing during sleep up to 100 times an hour, with the breathing stopping for a minute or longer.
How a Dentist Can Help
We often recommend continuous positive airway pressure, also known as a CPAP machine to treat obstructive sleep apnea. The therapy allows you to get steady air through a hose attached to a nose piece or a mask. You wear the mask throughout the night. It is the flow of the air that keeps the airways open. Although CPAP seems effective at treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea, many patients say that it is just too noisy and impacts their ability to fall and stay asleep.
Our team can offer an intraoral appliance that is able to alleviate obstructive sleep apnea symptoms without creating noise. We can fabricate a mandibular advancement device that works to hold the lower jaw in a forward position, thereby stabilizing the part of the airway that often collapses to block the airway. Another oral device known as a tongue retaining device may also help. This oral appliance holds your tongue forward while sleeping, thus preventing it from blocking the airway. We custom make these oral appliances for you.
Visit us at Zenith Smiles to get your sleep apnea treatment device or call us at (714) 838-0790 to set up an appointment.